Who Am I? Angel to some; Demon to others. This is the life of a foster parent. To outsiders looking in we are angels. To take in orphaned or neglected children is only fit for those who are saints. To those orphaned and neglected children it can go either way. We once had sibling teenagers. One thought we were angels and wanted to live with us forever; cried when the judge sent her home to what she felt was hell. The other thought we were the devil incarnate and that his father was a perfect god.
Why the difference? I believe they came to us with these ideas already in place. The one was unsatisfied with her life of neglect and saw us as saviours. The other was happy to pick through garbage dumps with his father and felt we were robbing him of the experience and therefore we must be bad. Most foster children come to us already believing that we are either angels or demons. Where do they get these ideas? From the rest of society! We are portrayed in the media as such. People in our communities believe very strongly that foster parents are either, inherently good and worthy of sainthood status, or that we are evil monsters who want to kidnap children and lock them in cages without food. Social workers fall into the same divide and are cast as either an angel who rescues or a demon who steals children. Even though they live with the same dividing labels they also feed into the belief that foster parents fit into the same categories. Heaven forbid a foster parent do anything straying from perfect.
As a foster parent of 18 years, I usually feel more angelic than not; but the realities of the daily grind can wear on any parent. I get upset, I cry, I yell, I might even chose a more harsh punishment for my two year old than she really deserves for her behaviour because of my own exhaustion or frustration. None of these things are angelic behaviours but they are not demonic either. Somehow we must find the middle. The place where the real foster parents live. The place where there is respect and support for just how difficult and wearing it can be to parent children not our own who are usually suffering from numerous traumas. I am not an angel, a saint a demon or a fiend. I am just a mom who has a heart for children and who wants to help. I am a flawed person far from Sainthood. I am human. I am a foster parent.